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What is Phonics and Early Reading like at The Berkeley?


Phonics and early reading starts in the nursery. 'Toddler talk' and 'chatting children' are used to develop children's communication skills through games and discussion. In the Summer term, the pre-school children will access phase 1. They are introduced to Little Wandle and reading for pleasure sessions in preparation for September and their move into reception.


All children must start learning at the same time. We start the phonics lessons in the second week of the Autumn term to help establish routines and set up behaviours for learning. All children should progress through the GPCs in order through each of the terms. If children need additional practice, they will do this in small or individual groups, outside of the main teaching session. 

Year 1

All children will start learning at the same time. We use the Summer term assessments from Reception to identify gaps in learning for classes and individuals. We use this information to supplement the consolidation of Phases 3 and 4 in the first four weeks of the Autumn term. This will ensure that all children are secure before they start learning the Phase 5 GPCs. 


Early reading

The National Curriculum for English (2014) aims to ensure that all pupils:

• read easily, fluently and with good understanding

• develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information

• acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.


Reading underpins children’s access to the curriculum and it clearly impacts on their achievement. There is considerable research to show that children who enjoy reading and choose to read benefit not only academically, but also socially and emotionally. To be able to read, children need to be taught an efficient strategy to decode words. That strategy is phonics. It is essential that children are actively taught and supported to use phonics as the only approach to decoding. Phonic decoding skills are used in 3 group reading sessions per week. Each child will be grouped based upon assessments and will take part in reading, prosody and comprehension sessions each week.